CNY Branch of the NLAPW

CNY Branch Pen Woman Vanessa Johnson Leads Girls to "Change the World"



Griot Vanessa Johnson designed and directed "Girls Change the World," a summer camp for 8–11- year-old girls, held at the Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation during the month of July.


Johnson is working with The Matilda Joslyn Gage Foundation and Center for Social Justice Dialogue to engage community audiences in programs, performances, and interactive exhibits that have not had access to the Gage Center because of geographic distance, the lack of transportation, and a perception that the Gage Center is not relative to people of color communities.


"What an amazing group of future leaders!" Johnson said of her young charges at the "Girls Change the World" camp. On Tuesday, July 12th, CNY Pen Women member and author Nancy Dafoe was a guest teacher at the "Girls Change the World" camp. She led a "I Am" poetry workshop, paid for by a grant to the Pen Women by CNY Artists. The lessons involved the children learning metaphors and catachresis, two poetry techniques in the process of creating their original poems.

"The poems these girls wrote blew me away!" Johnson said. "The girls are putting them on poster boards for a lawn display in front of the Gage Center" on Friday, July 15, 2022.

The children read their poems and then asked questions about writing as a career of author Dafoe. "We're growing future writers!" remarked Johnson.

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